31 July 2008

Time Management

While we're on the subject of time management, I think it's timely to invite everyone to view one of the all-time classic treatments of the subject.

Randy Pausch, who ultimately became well-known for his Last Lecture, the treatise on making your childhood dreams come true that he intended for his children, but ended up being relevant to a wider audience, always said that he had always thought he'd be well-known for his lecture on time management.

So I'll let Randy speak for himself, through the magic of digital video. Here's his one-hour time-management lecture on YouTube, provided by his beloved employer, Carnegie Mellon University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTugjssqOT0.

And, like any good professor, he's made his PowerPoint slides free from charge. Please don't be evil.

Disclaimer: Randy and I have the same alma mater as undergraduates (Brown University). He was a year ahead of me. He was my TA when I took the university's CS1 ("Computers for Poets") class. He described my work as "mega-neat," although my program blew up at the end.

That course ultimately led to the job I have now...editing computer books.

Thank you, Randy.

30 July 2008


Post-it + itis...get it?

I've noticed this trend for about a month or so. When I want to remember something, instead of writing it on one of the many beautiful lists in my Filofax--behind To Do, Ideas, and Lists tabs--I grab a Post-it note. Then I'll slap the note either on a diary page, behind one of the tabs, or (cringe) along the edge of my monitor.

OK, I've admitted the problem. And I've at least gathered up the Post-its and placed them behind the relevant tabs.

Now, it's time to take a look at why this is happening. It must be because, on some level, I'm losing trust in my system. Do I mistrust the lists because they're getting so long that I may not see everything on them? Because the things on the lists aren't getting done?

I haven't reviewed my lists in a while. I used to do it almost every day, like sitting down to chat with a friend. I think that's why this reluctance to add anything to them.

Time to get chummy with my Filo again. Hi, friend...

25 July 2008

Free for all Friday No. 8

Once a week, Philofaxy hosts an open comments thread.

That's not to say that we don't get a lot of great comments all the time -- we do! If you haven't checked out the wonderful comments on Taking note of notebooks, please do so! Our readers have great ideas.

Ideas? Suggestions? Complaints?

Let's have them!

- Inky

24 July 2008

Kate Spade refill

One of the advantages of using the small-but-popular 6-ring Personal-size Filofax is that lots of other companies make diary pages for it. Case in point: The Kate Spade designer refill that I found last week. I was shopping for a gift for my mom in the same local gift shop/stationer where I sometimes buy Filofax refills, when I came upon a markdown shelf. And there, discounted to 20% of its original $24 price was a 2008 Kate Spade diary!

I decided to buy it if only to be able to review it here. But now I've decided to use it, and recopy my somewhat messy year-so-far into it. (This will be the second time I've recopied the year -- the first was due to a format change, but who's counting?) I find this rewriting serves as a pleasant taking stock and renewal at the same time.

The diary features an illustrated title page at the beginning of each calendar month, and an inspiring quote. It has a week-per-2-pages with a Monday start and a notes section at the end. Weekend days get equal space to weekdays, which may be a nod to the diary's primarily female audience. Most women have more to do on the weekends besides "Take Nap."

The paper is much thicker and stiffer than standard Filofax paper. It almost feels like card stock. I like that, although it makes for a thicker Filofax to carry around.

(You can see a couple different views, as well as more Filofax pics, by clicking the picture above.)

18 July 2008

Free for all Friday No. 7

TGIF. Thank Goodness It's Friday...Thank Goodness It's Filofax!

Time for you readers to speak your minds.

My A5 household Filofax had a little adventure this week, helping me get through a project. I needed to find an electrician and get some wiring fixed in our house. A page behind my Projects tab gave me a place to list the symptoms to report to the electrician, his name and phone number for next time, a list of problems he found (including those to be fixed in the future), and my notes on the work he did so I could explain the process to my husband later.

- Inky

17 July 2008

Creative bookmaking

A reader, Silver Elixir, has graciously let me share the link to photos of her commonplace books made with A4 and A5 Filofax paper, A4 and A5 notebooks, and lever arch binders.

Did you know you can cut an A4 lever arch binder down to A5 size?

Have you thought about letting your imagination run wild with collages and words? Click here for inspiration!

Here's the link to Silver Elixir's photostream: Click here.

16 July 2008

Taking note of notebooks

Although many of us have tried, you can't write everything in a Filofax. If you keep a journal or commonplace book, or write prose or fiction for business or pleasure, sooner or later you need to use bound notebooks.

But which one to choose? The question is in the air. I was already considering a post like this when a reader emailed me to suggest it! I've noticed more notebook-related activity on other blogs as well.

When I made my all-Filofax, all-the-time commitment a couple years ago, I found I also had to choose a type of notebook I could use on the side. My first Filofax was an A5, so I knew right away I'd need an A5 notebook, since the Filofax refill paper is so expensive. And I wanted detachable pages, since I definitely wanted to be able to move pages back and forth. For example, my A5 Filo is for work. If I kept my personal journal in an A5 notebook, then when I had a work-related inspiration while writing in my journal, I could simply start a new page and then punch Filo holes in it. And vice-versa -- I could slip Filofax pages into the A5 notebook.

I decided on the A5 Miquelrius pictured here. I chose it for the following reasons:

- It comes in the A5 size and is readily available in the U.S. (Online from The Daily Planner and on the shelf in The Container Store and Borders bookstores.) A5 notebooks are hard to find here, so this is a big plus!

- The pages are pre-punched with standard 2 holes for A5 binders. If I want to, I can take the pages out and recategorize them in binders. (For that reason, I start a new page for every day's journal entry and when I write about a different subject.)

- The pages are perforated. See above.

- Bright colored covers. Not a requirement, but a nice benefit. I prefer bright colors to gray, beige, and so on.

- Another benefit that wasn't a requirement: color-coding on the edges of the pages. You can see orange-bordered pages in the right-hand picture above. You can use different colors for different subjects, although I haven't done that yet.

- The paper stands up to my favorite everyday pens without bleed-through. It's not good enough for heavier nibs or fountain pens, though. [Update: Your mileage may vary: A reader has reported good performance with fine-point fountain pens.]

- High page count - 140 leaves. Since the A5 size is small, I'll fill a lot of pages, and I don't want to generate lots of little books. Also, I just like thick books!

So with all these advantages, why am I having second thoughts about Miquelrius?

- As it turns out, I actually do very little moving pages between the notebook and the Filofax. Since January, I've only slipped in 3 Filofax pages. I don't think I've ever moved a notebook page into the Filofax. In fact, I haven't even bought the hole punch to do so. So the A5 size isn't as much of a necessity as I predicted, and I've started looking longingly at a variety of other kinds of notebooks, especially large Moleskines!

- I haven't ended up taking pages out of the notebook and putting them in binders, at least not yet. Furthermore, A5 ring binders are even harder to find in the U.S. than A5 notebooks, and I haven't even found any that I like!

- I'm unhappy with the single-wire spiral binding, since it isn't as durable as a sewn binding. With use, the spiral twists, which you can also see in the above-right picture. The book doesn't lie flat for writing when folded back. The holes at the top and bottom of the page start to tear and pull away from the binding.

- Also, with a spiral binding, there's no spine to label for shelf display! If I'm going to be keeping the pages in the notebooks rather than rebinding them, that's a big concern.

- The ruling is wider than I like. It means I go through a lot of pages! With only a little information on each page, it takes a lot of flipping to find something specific that I wrote.

All that said, I still like writing in these notebooks, and I'll be writing in them tonight and tomorrow and the day after. But it feels good to get these thoughts off my chest.

10 July 2008

Free for all Friday No. 6

Well, here's something I never wanted to do -- let a week go by without a post!

I'm going out of town on short notice. It's going to be fun, but travel always means a lot of work. It seems like an equal and opposite amount of work to the amount of pleasure! The word "travel" comes from the French word for "work" -- "travail."

When I get back, I promise more posts next week, including some interesting purchases I made while gift shopping for the upcoming trip -- on which I'm leaving in 1/2 hour, so really must go now!

Talk amongst yourselves, especially if you have any tales of how your Filo has helped you plan or operate on a trip.

04 July 2008

Free for All Friday No. 5

Although it's a new week, I'd like to take a moment to direct your attention to Laurie's comment on "Free for All Friday No. 3" about a fabulous bag she found that works perfectly for carrying her A5 Filofax.

Since picnic season is in full swing (especially in the U.S. and especially today!!), let's talk about how we carry our Filos around through all the places our work and play take us. For example, Laurie's REI shoulder bag comes from a sporting goods store and has lots of pockets to help segregate the Filo from the hazards of sunscreen, water bottles, and so on.

I know I choose my everyday handbags so they can carry a Personal Filo. And since I don't like big bags, I usually can't carry much else. I usually can't carry my digital camera, which kills me when I miss a photo op. I guess I need a smaller digicam.

01 July 2008

Happy Canada Day

OK, all of us Filofaxers have this date in our planners, but many of us who are not ourselves Canadian, don't know what it's all about. Although I believe that embedding a YouTube video is an incredibly lazy, gratuitous way of doing a blog post, I know of no better way to communicate the true essence of Canada Day.

So with no further ado...